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Publisher's Viewpoint - Robin Ashton

Publisher's Viewpoint - Robin AshtonFounding partner Robin Ashton, president and publisher, is a true industry veteran in spite of is boyish appearance, he's covered foodservice since 1978, and E&S exclusively since 1982, as an editor and publisher at several magazines.


See all of Robin's blogs and comments


This Year, And Next

December 01, 2013

The motto at Gill Ashton Publishing—yes, we have a motto, not a mission statement—has long been “Bless our fun and games.” Given some of the changes in the media landscape the past five years, we’ve sometimes had to remind ourselves that we have some of the best jobs in the history of the world.

This being the December issue, I went back and read my editorial from December 2012. It was about our revived Young Lion Awards and the first round of winners, who we celebrated at the FER Industry Awards celebration during The NAFEM Show in February. And it reminded me of just how much we’ve done in the past year. 

With the December issue last year, we debuted the new design of FER and re-launched our digital edition. (We want to thank the many of you who have told us how much you like getting the magazine both ways.) In February, we had a great NAFEM, including the Awards event, where more than 400 of you helped us honor our first FER Management Excellence Awards winners as well as our Industry Service and Young Lion Awards recipients.

In April, we helped create a new educational program called the Foodservice Forum at the Hotelex show in Shanghai. Jane Gannaway from Yum! China and Don Fisher of Pacific Gas & Electric’s Food Service Technology Center spoke for us. More than 200 attended. 

In June, we hosted 35 noncommercial and emerging chain operators at a Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium in Austin, Texas. It was a very committed, very involved group who pondered the trade-offs between energy and water savings and initial capital cost. Then in early August, we held our eighth annual President’s Preview E&S Market Forecast meeting.

I’ve also been very impressed with the editorial content of the magazine and e-newsletters this year. Our Founding Editor Brian Ward has done a great series of stories on how operators purchase equipment and supplies. He has another fascinating article this month on how to do business offshore. 

I’ve spent nearly the entire fall on the road talking to customers and readers. It’s been a fun and gratifying tour. Many good things are happening in our business. Everyone seems upbeat and positive about the future.

But 2013 is almost gone, and it’s time to move on to 2014. We have more big plans for next year. We have our seventh commercial operator MUFES set for Jan. 25-27 and already have more than 50 operators registered or verbally committed. We’re working on another Foodservice Forum with Hotelex in April and also will stop in Singapore for Food & Hotel Asia. We plan another President’s Preview in late July. 

Beth Lorenzini and the FER editors have planned another year of great content. (If you want to see the editorial calendar for 2014, visit fermag.com/about-us/advertise.html.) We’re re-launching an international email newsletter, FER Worldwide Report, next year. It will cover global foodservice developments, company and personnel changes, global economic issues, international shows and other news of interest to operators around the world. We’re revamping and expanding circulation of our products e-newsletter FER e-Products News. Not least, we added 3,000 to our print operator circulation in November, and 28,000 of you will now receive FER monthly going forward.

We hope you had a good year, too, and have big plans for 2014. Please also have a healthy and happy one.

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